Home > Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Claudia Gray

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

Eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, the Galactic Empire now reigns over the known galaxy. Resistance to the Empire has been all but silenced. Only a few courageous leaders such as Bail Organa of Alderaan still dare to openly oppose Emperor Palpatine.

After years of defiance, the many worlds at the edge of the Outer Rim have surrendered. With each planet’s conquest, the Empire’s might grows even stronger.

The latest to fall under the Emperor’s control is the isolated mountain planet Jelucan, whose citizens hope for a more prosperous future even as the Imperial Starfleet gathers overhead….

A SHIP SLICED THROUGH the shale-gray sky overhead, so quickly it was no more than a line of light and a distant screech almost lost in the wind.

“That’s a Lambda-class shuttle!” Thane Kyrell pointed upward, jumping with excitement. “Did you hear it? Did you, Dalven?”

His older brother cuffed him and sneered. “You don’t know what the ships look like. You’re too little to know.”

“Am not. It was a Lambda-class shuttle. You can tell by the sound of the engines—”

“Children, hush.” Thane’s mother never glanced back at them. She concentrated on holding up the hem of her saffron-colored robe so it wouldn’t trail in the dust. “I told you we ought to have brought the hovercraft. Instead we’re wandering down to Valentia on foot like valley trash.”

“The hangars will be a madhouse,” insisted Thane’s father, Oris Kyrell, with a contemptuous sniff. “Thousands of people trying to land whether or not they’ve got a reservation. Do you want to spend our whole day fighting over docking rights? Better to do it this way. The boys can keep up well enough.”

Dalven could; he was twelve years old, long-limbed and proud to tower over his younger brother. For Thane, the downhill trek through the uneven mountain paths was harder going. So far he was shorter than most boys his age; the large feet and hands that hinted at his future height were, for now, merely awkward. His reddish-blond hair stuck to his sweaty forehead, and he wished his parents had let him wear his favorite boots instead of these shiny new ones, which pinched his toes at every step. But he would have made a more difficult trip than that to finally see TIE fighters and shuttles—real spacecraft, not like some clunky old V-171.

“It was a Lambda-class shuttle,” he muttered, hoping Dalven wouldn’t overhear.

But he did. His older brother stiffened, and Thane prepared himself. Dalven never hit him very hard when their parents were nearby, but those lesser shoves or punches were often a warning of worse to come later. This time, however, Dalven did nothing. Maybe he was distracted by the promise of the spectacle they would see that day—the display of flying power and fighting techniques by vessels of the Imperial fleet.

Or maybe Dalven was embarrassed because he’d realized Thane had identified the ship when he couldn’t.

He says he’s going to the Imperial Academy, Thane thought, but that’s just because he thinks it will make him important. Dalven doesn’t know every single ship like I do. He doesn’t study the manuals or practice with a glider. Dalven will never be a real pilot.

But I will.

“We should’ve left Thane at home with the housekeeper droid.” Dalven’s voice had become sulky. “He’s too little for any of this. In another hour he’ll be whining to go home.”

“I won’t,” Thane insisted. “I’m old enough. Aren’t I, Mama?”

Ganaire Kyrell nodded absently. “Of course you’re old enough. You were born in the same year as the Empire itself, Thane. Never forget that.”

How could he forget when she’d reminded him at least five times already that day? He wanted to say so, but that would only earn him another cuff from Dalven—or, worse, a new barrage of insults from his father, whose words could cut deeper than any blade. Already he could sense them staring at him, waiting for any show of defiance or weakness. Thane turned as if he were looking down toward their destination, the city of Valentia, so neither his father nor Dalven would see his expression. It was always better when they didn’t know what Thane was thinking.

He wasn’t worried about his mother. She rarely noticed him at all.

The wind tugged at his blue-and-gold-embroidered cloak, and Thane shivered. Other worlds had to be warmer. Brighter, busier, more fun in every way. He believed this despite never having visited another planet in his life; it was impossible to think that the vastness of the galaxy didn’t contain someplace better to be than here.

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